Երկուշաբթի, 17. 06. 2024

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Aghavni Kevranian: “Before, my Homeland was a Dream, but Now, Aleppo, my Sweet Hometown is a Dream”

*Karine Avagyan*

“Armenia was a dream for us, Mount Ararat-a fairy tale, and today, the dream has come true, and so has the fairy tale.”

Neither the Syrian-Armenians nor we, the citizens of Armenia, could ever imagine seeing such a wave of repatriation in our days. For Armenians living in different corners of the globe, just pronouncing the words ‘Armenia’ and ‘Homeland’ make them get emotional and feel longing that they can’t explain. For many, the Homeland is only a dream. Many Armenians have repatriated after having had that dream in their souls for many years and have settled in a new place, looking towards the shiny peak of Mount Ararat. Due to the Syrian war that seems to be endless and the danger posing a threat to their lives, many Syrian-Armenians settled in the Homeland, tried to start a new life and adapted to the new environment. Some found jobs, while others are still in search of jobs. Children go to kindergarten or attend schools. Most young Syrian-Armenians have gotten accepted to universities, and there is now a little ‘breath’ of Aleppo in Yerevan. The multitalented Syrian-Armenian girls and women continue embroidering, making handmade items, as well as dishes and pastry that we locals had heard a lot about and have sometimes tasted. Indeed, handmade items are part of the culture to preserve the Armenian family. Once again, as I entered the home of a Syrian-Armenian family, I was no longer amazed to see works on the table and the sofa that didn’t seem to have been made by hand. Once again, I smelled the ‘scent’ of the tradition. Yes, the ‘scent’ of the Armenian tradition…

I engaged in an interesting and perhaps a little sad conversation with the bride, Aghavni Kevranian and her mother-in-law, Mrs. Marie Setrakian.

Aghavni Kevranian: We have been living in Armenia for the past five months. We waited a long time for the war to end, but it didn’t. The eldest of my two daughters was already about to finish the 12th grade and was going to leave our district to receive her higher education, and it was very dangerous. My younger daughter was still in middle school. My husband, Aram Attarian is an engine expert. He was the only breadwinner, and we were all safe. Later, we began to experience fear and went into panic that seemed endless during the Syrian war. We decided to come to the Homeland, which we had been hearing about since childhood. Armenia was a dream for us, and Mount Ararat-a fairy tale. Today, the dream has come true, and so has the fairy tale. They are very close to our hearts, and they are very cordial. Armenia is heaven. If only the economy gets better…I continue to sew and embroider…I design my works. I embroidered the Holy Etchmiadzin and the Armenian alphabet. I also knit blouses, toys for a Christmas tree and other toys and slippers for children. I also attend tourism courses. My elder daughter studies at the University of Engineering, and my younger daughter is in the 9th grade at Yeghishe Charents School. I pay my elder daughter’s tuition through charities. My husband works as an electrician, and my mother-in-law knits and makes meals. This is how we live. I want to be honest and say that after the war, we will return to our beloved hometown, but we will also build a house here so that we can always be in touch with Armenia. From now on, it will be hard for us to live far away from Armenia. We have a house and relatives in Aleppo where there are schools and historic and cultural monuments…We miss Aleppo a lot. Words can’t describe…I can’t say which has a bigger place in my heart and soul-Armenia or Aleppo…My hometown and the Homeland are dear to me. I was born in Aleppo, and have always dreamed of Armenia with longing. Before, my Homeland was a dream, but now, Aleppo, my sweet hometown is a dream.

Marie Setrakian: We live with hope that Syria will flourish again and peace will be reestablished someday. I have a son and two daughters. One of my daughters is in Spain, and the other is in Lebanon. My daughter’s family lived in Italy for 20 years, moved to Lebanon and purchased a house there, but the war broke out about two months later, and my son-in-law decided that they would go back to Italy. It is the destiny of an Armenian…We came to the Homeland, which we had longed for very much. There is only one Homeland, and it is irreplaceable, just like a parent. Fifty years ago when many people would visit the Homeland, I would ask visitors to bring me a palm of soil from the Homeland. Now, I am standing on the land that I wanted. Lucky is the person who has a Homeland! Who cares about a person without a homeland?

…And this is how our Syrian-Armenian compatriots live, embroidering and weaving with the longing for the hometown that ‘smells’ like sweetness ‘falling’ from the sky, with the hope for the present and the future that is coming again.

 

Hayernaysor.am

 

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